Homebuilders: Determine emotional quotient (EQ) skills in the interview

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Rodney Hall underscores why and how homebuilders should pay attention to a candidate’s EQ

February 01, 2008
Sidebars:
EQ Defined

In December, I talked about the Emotional Quotient Index. Referred to as people skills or soft skills, EQ is the ability to understand people. Those with a high EQ tend to motivate others, reach consensus decisions and gain cooperation.

Some of the psychological components for measuring EQ include self-awareness, managing emotion, self-motivation, empathy, openness, flexibility and relationship building. Or, as Dr. Gary Williamson, managing director at PSP Metrics put it: "EQ is the radar that successful executives and managers use to read their customers and co-workers."

EQ in the Workplace

Where does EQ come into play in the home building industry? Think of any anyone managing a staff or department.

Case in point: Meet Chris Kornman of Southern Homes in Slidell, La. Chris is a client of the Talon Group. He also has a doctorate in psychology. Chris describes good EQ as the ability to steer a difficult conversation through to a place where all participants feel they were heard.

"One of my key managers has very high EQ. ... She always approaches the issue with an openness to change, self-confidence, empathy for my side of the argument and an attempt to find common ground. Sometimes she wins, sometimes I win and sometimes we compromise. ...

"I always leave feeling like we understood and heard each other. Neither party was invalidated."

EQ in the interview process

You can assess EQ during the interview process by asking candidates to describe their weaknesses and what they are doing to improve them. This will help you evaluate their self-awareness.

You'll also want to ask candidates to describe the things that matter most to his or her peers or direct reports. From this you'll be able to assess the candidate's empathy aspect of EQ. To get at emotional self-control, ask candidates to describe the most difficult person he or she worked with and what he or she did to cope with the emotions generated by that relationship.

If a candidate fails to discuss, allude or refer to emotions during the interview process, then they probably have very little insight into how they affect others.

EQ in job transitions

EQ can also play a key role in determining job compatibility. Williamson says virtually all sales and managerial assignments require EQ.

Chris offers this home-building specific example: "We had an assistant builder who was struggling in the field. She had high EQ skills, good construction skills and mediocre scheduling and management skills. We did not want to let her go. We felt she was an asset to the organization. We moved her to warranty, where she used her EQ skills to excel in her new position. The homeowners she deals with love her."


Author Information
Rodney Hall is a senior partner with The Talon Group, a leading executive search firm specializing in the real-estate development and home building industries.

 

EQ Defined

High EQ

People with a high EQ tend to motivate others, reach consensus decisions and gain cooperation.

Psychological components for measuring EQ include: self-awareness, manages emotion, self-motivation, empathy, openness, flexibility and relationship building

Good EQ can be described as the ability to steer a difficult conversation through to a place where all participants feel they were heard.

Assess good EQ during the interview: Ask candidates to describe their weaknesses and what they are doing to improve them.

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